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Is there anyone out there who has absolutely zero experience with waiting? If that’s you, you are one lucky person. (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, by the way.) It makes me think of that scene in Bruce Almighty. He makes all his traffic lights turn green, and the relief of never having to wait again just washes over him.
For all the rest of us, waiting is part of life. It happens with the big and small things, and it happens daily. For me, it can range from waiting for the mail to waiting for a life-changing phone call, waiting for my husband to get home to waiting for a breakthrough.
You may remember Elizabeth Laing Thompson from a guest post she did here for my new mom series. I’m so glad to be able to share her new book, When God Says Wait. The book helps break down how to understand this season of life, as well as how to bear it. Elizabeth also shares vulnerably about intense times of waiting in her own life. It’s been especially cool to see her patience in making this book happen. (On her Instagram, by the way, she shares a video of her family finding her new book in Barnes and Noble for the first time – so cute!)
There are many things I can connect with in this book, but one in particular is making use of the waiting period. At the beginning of my season of infertility, I remember feeling frozen. Until I became a mom, everything else stopped. What was the point of focusing on career or relationships? Why start a new hobby? Hopefully I would have a baby soon, right?
If I’m really honest, deep down, I put myself on hold partially out of bitterness. Okay, God, I’d think, crossing my arms and rooting myself to the floor. If you’re going to make me wait, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ll just sit here and wait. Childish, much?
During that time I heard the song, “While I’m Waiting,” by John Waller, which made me break down in tears. The chorus goes, “While I’m waiting/I will serve you while I’m waiting/I will worship while I’m waiting/I will not faint/I’ll be running the race/Even while I wait.” Surely this was the attitude I should have about waiting.
Ironically (now that I think about it), that was when life became very full. We began serving the singles ministry in our church. We went through the process of buying a house. I left a steady job to volunteer for an event company, with zero experience. I helped start an old event in a new place, and it became my full-time job, and a career niche for me.
God doesn’t make mistakes in his timing and in how he answers prayer. I thought I was in a time of being frozen in place. He, however, chose it as a time for me to pursue new opportunities. While I maintain that it was still one of the hardest years of my life, it was one in which I found incredible growth. My relationship with him grew much closer as well.
Elizabeth shares the same message in her book. “If we are not careful,” she says, “we spend our waiting season the same way we spend our time in waiting rooms: brainless, frivolous, unmotivated. Waiting seasons become time wasted, life lost. Waiting becomes our full-time occupation – our only occupation. We check out mentally and emotionally, disengage from the people we love, and kick into float-aimlessly-through-life-while-we-wait-for-something-to-change mode.”
Instead, she says, “But let us draw comfort from the knowledge that although we can’t control how long we wait, we can control how we wait. Maybe we can’t name the date we get better, get the raise, or get the break, but we can name the date we reclaim joy, and it can be today.” This is probably my favorite quote from the book.
I won’t spoil the whole thing for you. Elizabeth shares even more gems in her book. But this part definitely resonates with my heart. I still try to focus on what I want, rather than what I can do in the meantime. But those times can be the most useful and even life-altering, if we choose to let them be.
How about you? What are you waiting for in life right now? And what can you do in the meantime?
I was provided an advanced copy of When God Says Wait for review, but all opinions are my own.